Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Design Studios and Sequences

Aparato is a motion design and animation studio based in Uruguay. Over the years, the company has earned several international awards for VFX and have worked on a permanent basis with production houses and agencies in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, the United States, England, Spain, and China on brands including Coca-Cola, Amex, Movistar, Pepsi, AMPM, and Nestle. This design company also did the title sequence for the 2013 reboot Evil Dead. 

Filmograph, previously known as Becker Design, is a studio focused on design, live action direction, animation, and entertainment branding for film and television. Founded in 2012 by Aaron Becker, the company specializes in feature film main title design. They have worked on such films as InsidiousSinisterThe PurgeSnitch, and The Conjuring. The studio’s television portfolio includes Bad Robot's Alcatraz and HBO's Clear History

Imaginary Forces is a design-based production studio with offices in Hollywood and New York. Their award-winning work includes main titles, feature marketing, experience design, branding, commercial advertising, and interactive design. Founded in 1996, Imaginary Forces has created the main titles for films and broadcast titles such as Se7enMission ImpossibleMad MenBoardwalk Empire, all three Transformers films, 500 Days of Summer, and others. 

Friday, 21 March 2014

Evaluation 6 - Part 2

Evaluation 6 - Part 1

Evaluation Question 7

Evaluation Question 4

This evaluation question was designed and answered by Cam Grant, who I worked with in the production of this opening title sequence.

Evaluation Question 3

Evaluation Question 2

How Does Your Media Product Represent Particular Social Groups?

Within our film there are only two characters. These characters are both white males, which shows a lack of representation for gender and different ethnic groups. However this was not a deliberate choice to do this, it was simply a case of the actors that were available to us for scheduled filming where both white males. Class is not particularly represent in this film, however it does suggest that they could possibly be of the middle to upper classes, due to the fact that one of the characters is wearing suit trousers and a shirt and the other is dressed in a full suit and tie outfit. These costume design choices were not however intended to represent class as such, for example the purpose of the white shirt was that it would easily show up our fake blood but seeing as the other characters is dressed in a suit it could suggested that he is a sophisticated, wealthy murderer but the narrative of the story does little to really show this.
Below is a mood board which is a collection of inspiration and prop uses from our film.  

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Pitch Vlog

This is a video log of myself, giving the pitch for the narrative of our film.

Soundtrack- The Original Version

This is the soundtrack that was used for our opening title sequence. You may notice, if you've seen the film already, that the music here seems distinctly dissimilar to the actual soundtrack on the video. This is because this piece of music has not been reversed, which gives off the slow and dark sound your hear in the film.   The only instrument in this piece is an electric guitar being played with minor distortion. The buzz from the amplifier can also be heard but this gives a greater effect in the reversed version of the soundtrack. This piece (non-reversed) is based off of The Last of Us soundtrack song titled home. A discussion of that song can be found on this blog.

Analysis of Second Day Filming


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Music Inspiration- Marilyn Manson and The Color Morale

The first song I have chosen to analyse is a song called Fill;Avoid by a band called The Color Morale. The sound of this song is almost but not quite identical to our own soundtrack for the opening sequence. Supporting a deep, mysterious electronic tone it instantly becomes haunting and captivating, digging into the soul. It also oddly enough sounds like something was recorded and then played in reverse like our own soundtrack however this cannot be said definitely. However midway through the film, there is a sudden switch, to which the electronic sounds dither away and are replaced with a slow piano progression, that is lighter and more happy, relieving the listener of the dark tones the song has before. The lyrics are also sung gently but with long notes at times.

The second song that inspired me was the more upbeat, gothic rock song Sweet Dreams (Are made of this) by Marilyn Manson. The song starts off with a ominous riff from the guitar and then the bass kicks in to add an extra depth and layer to the song. Then all of the instruments come together to play a loud and pounding pre-verse. The lyrics are sometimes whispered and lightly sung, but Manson's unique style means he switches between shouts at the more energetic moments to really get the listener going. This song is similar to some of the soundtrack themes found on the Resident Evil films. The style may not have fitted in perhaps as well as Fill;Avoid, due to the fact that the film is a lot slower paced than the song, however I feel it still would have been fairly dark.

Epic Game Music Inspiration: The Last of Us - Home

This a song titled Home, from the soundtrack of the video game, The Last of Us. This song is so, so haunting that it was an instant inspiration for me the first time I heard it. The song opens up by utilising slow deep strings to create a long and ghostly atmosphere. This carries on for about 40 seconds, in order to really drive home the ominous atmosphere created by the music. The sound of the electric guitar coming forward is light at first, but then goes much the same way as the deep bass strings, giving off a slightly unnerving final note. There is then the accompaniment of acoustic guitar that plays a gentle rhythm and lightens the mood slightly. The electric guitar comes in again over the acoustic rhythm adding depth and layers to the song. The electric guitar again briefly stops and moves more to the foreground letting the acoustic sounds breathe some life, before the electric guitar now partnered with a piano both come in for a soaring and spine tingling finale. This song forms a highly spooky and surreal atmosphere for three minutes which both haunts and scares the listener. Comparing this to the Leaving Earth song for Mass Effect 3, we can definitely say that this song is moodier and very dark, but with light tones to not make it too overbearing and depressing.

Production Company Logos

The logos down below are generally Horror themed logos or are related to other kinds of well known films. Whilst we have not been able to create an actual digital sequence we have taken colours, sounds or logo designs from these logos and put them together to help create our own logos.

This is a horror movie companies (Dragonsoldier Pictures) logo sequence.

 Below is the Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures logo openings.

This is the Jerry Bruckheimer Intro logo sequence. This is also the inspiration for our Musketeer Entertainment Video.

Pictures of the Production


The picture to the left is of the possible props we were potentially going to use for our film. The props include a trench knife. An M4 Airsoft Rifle with fake bullets for ammunition and magazine holders. There is also camera bags and equipment on the table.

The picture to the left is a before image of the set before it was covered in fake blood. The tripod can be seen along with myself preparing the camcorder for some Behind the Scenes videos.
The picture to the left is of myself after I had finished shooting the scenes where I play the body of a murder victim. The blood had seeped through the shirt and made a nice, realistic blood wound effect. It was a shame we did not find that out sooner!

The picture to the left of the set with extra props and a puddle of fake blood on the floor.

Another picture of me and the bloodied shirt.

Evaluation Question 1

1. In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?

Firstly it is important to reiterate all of the inspiration we gathered and developed in making our opening sequence. This is important as it will allow me to compare our inspiration with what we actually produced, and highlight any challenges or similarities to the conventions of those TV dramas/films that inspired us. 


Monday, 17 March 2014

Theatrical Poster Second Design, The Art of Evil

This is the second poster design for our short film opening sequence, The Art of Evil. The reason why we have done a second poster is because we designed the first as if we were advertising a fully financed and produced feature film. This poster however is more specific and relates solely to the two minutes we have filmed for our opening title sequence. The first change is to the title. A shadow has been added which helps to add a greater depth to the title. Secondly the font of the tag-line has been changed. It looks familiar to that of typewriter print, which could be suggestive that the film is set in a different period. The third and probably most notable change is to the protagonist on the front of the poster. In the first design he was wearing an assault rifle strapped around his back, but this was removed due to the fact that there is not an actually rifle in the film. This in turn drew more attention to the character and the handsaw weapon. 

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Analysis of Theatrical Film Posters

Dead Man's Shoes

This is the theatrical poster in which we have taken the most inspiration from. The colour scheme is identical to ours, making the most of the colour red to make it bold and eye-catching, but also to imply the themes of our film e.g blood, death, danger, murder. We have used the silhouette effect on our own main character with him facing away from the reader, but we have removed any other features in the background, so as to draw more focus to the character and to make the poster more minimalist. Similarly we have differed the colour of the text, highlighting some words in white for specific effect.

Friday the 13th

There are some aspects from this poster that could have inspired us towards the final design of our own poster, mainly the position of the iconic villian (Jason Vorhees) in the centre holding a weapon. Again, similarly to the Dead Man's Shoes poster there is the use of red and white coloured text. The tag-line at the top of the poster is in white so it is visible against the black background, and the  title of the film is in red, which is a major convention of the horror genre.

Whilst this poster for Thor is not relatable to our own poster it is interesting to note that it is almost nearly identical in its layout to the Friday the 13th poster. The tag-line is in white and is positioned at the top of the poster. The centre of the poster is then dominated by the films main protagonist, much like the Friday the 13th poster but much closer and bolder. This is probably because Thor is a superhero as opposed to a sinister killer like Jason Voorhees. The title Thor is in red text, which again makes the film's title eye-catching and powerful, and also shows that it does not have to be a colour limited to the convention of the horror genre.
Scott Pilgrim vs The World

Again much like the Thor poster, the genre for this film is not the same as our our films genre, but the layout and design of the poster is surprisingly similar to the one we have created for our own film. Firstly the red background is an obvious similarity, but it is effective due to it being an eye-catching colour and also supporting lots of suggestive themes such as blood, danger etc. Whilst they may not wholly apply to Scott Pilgrim they certainately apply to The Art of Evil. The main protagonist like Thor and Friday the 13th is again placed in the middle with the tag-line beneath him.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Theatrical Poster for The Art of Evil

This a theatrical poster for our media film, The Art of Evil. We have based our poster off of the Dead Man's Shoes poster which will be looked at in-depth in a later post. The way we designed this poster was as if we where promoting a full length feature film, based on our opening sequence, which explains why the man pictured has a rifle strapped to his back and is carrying a handsaw. Whilst none of these weapons are actually featured within our opening sequence, they are weapons that would likely be included had this have been a fully financed, studio backed production. However, we are currently in the process of creating a separate poster which is more tailored toward and based of off the two minutes we have actually filmed. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Risk Assessment

In this post I will cover the potential risks posed to us a crew on set when making our opening sequence.

Overall there was a moderate to low risk of injury. The main factor that could have been a problem for us was the use of fake blood as puddles on the floor. The floor was covered in plastic sheeting which had been placed there to enhance the mise-en-scene and was also a nod towards the television show Dexter. The consistency of the blood was thin, which gave it the potential to become a slip hazard, although no injury/accident was caused to nay crew member whilst on set.

The room was vey cold as it was a garage so it is plausible to say that there was a weather hazard. We had to wrap up to stay warm.
 The only other risk we faced whilst filming was keeping the equipment safe. We made sure that the camera was attached safely to its tripod before filming and constantly found the right angles to film for the best and safest shots available to us.

The Final Cut... With Analysis

This is the final cut of our opening title sequence. The editing stage was completed on the 4th March 2014. The film is called The Art of Evil. 

When looking back on the film there are definitely features that I would have liked to have been able to have performed better. The first would be the micro-aspect of cinematography. Whilst there are a lot of fantastic shots in this film, there are however a lot of shots that were unfortunately, too shaky and not stable enough. Audiences told us that this detracted from certain shots that needed to be stable as they contained important bits of narrative that were detracted from by the shaky camera. Another aspect I would have liked to have cleaned up and developed a little bit more was the soundtrack. Although we stumbled upon a gem by putting the soundtrack I created in reverse, it was still a little fuzzy. Static sound was overpowering and present in the background which I felt at times drew attention away from the film and more important bits in the music.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014


The budget for our opening sequence was relatively low and had this have been a feature film would have been considered a micro-budget. The only cost came in buying materials to make the fake blood; costumes and props had already been accounted for, including filming equipment.

Sainsbury's Shopping List

Lyle's 454g Maple Syrup x2 = £2.30
Red Food Colouring 38ml x1 = £1.00
Blue Food Colouring 38ml x1 = £1.00
Yellow Food Colouring 38ml x1 = £1.00
Corn Flour 500g = £1.20

Additional Items

Masks x5 = £10
Plastic Sheeting x2 = £12

Total: £28.50

If this were to be a fully financed feature film then it is hugely likely that the budget would be much greater. Paid actors, higher end recording equipment, would all be factors in adding up to a much larger budget.

Firstly in our opening sequence there is a scene where blood is chucked against a wall. The end result is  a great, slow-motion image of the blood being splattered around on the wall, however due to the equipment we had available to us we were not able to film a completely smooth image. In the final edit of the film the scene suffers from frame rate drop, causing it to look slightly jittery and jumpy, but this is  not such a major error that required it to be removed. It is for this reason why a high speed camera would be used in order to film the sequence, had this have been a feature film with a production companies backing. The scene would need to be filmed at around 60-120-fps in order to achieve a smooth slow-motion sequence.

Pictured below is a Sony PMW-350K XDCAM Camcorder. This camera costs £11799.95 which is approximately 414x more expensive than the total budget we spent on the actual production of our film. Seeing as this would be a 'low budget' production it is unlikely that the budget would be that of Iron Man 3 or Star Trek, both of which support $140-$200million budgets. A more likely budget would be perhaps around the $10-20million mark, but that would be if we were sponsored by an american production company otherwise we would have more of a British independent budget of around £400,000-£1million. Additionally it is unlikely that we would have an A-list star as part of the cast and would instead have unknown or lesser known actors. This means the budget would stay low and affordable.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Psycho Shower Scene

This infamous scene from Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is one the biggest inspirations for actions and pieces of cinematography within our opening sequence.
Firstly the genre of Psycho is a thriller, which is the genre we have chosen to base our film opening on. However as we can only show around two minutes, the genre could easily be perceived as more of a crime/drama film, and this would still be fairly accurate as their are strong influences within the opening from television shows like Dexter and Hannibal.
The second link between this particular scene and our media piece is the event that occurs within both pieces: a murder. However there are differences that help to separate the two films and make ours more unique and not a direct copy of Psycho. For example in our two minutes we focus more on the aftermath of the murder, with our victim already dead on the floor with the blood splattered on the floor and the walls. Additionally there is a greater interest in the actions of the killer, who we use to tease the audience, by not wholly revealing his identity but also try and cause discomfort to the audience by the twisted acts he commits.
There are however some similarities between the two pieces. There are two obvious examples of things we have adopted and developed from the shower scene, the first being the close up on Marion's (played by Janet Leigh) hand as she drags it down the wall in her dying moments. In our opening the killer drags a bloodied have from left to right across a wall, scratching his nails for added intensity. The second example is a piece of editing and cinematography used within the shower scene. When Marion falls to the floor of the bathroom, the camera tracks the blood in the bath being washed into the sink. As it moves towards the drain, the water makes the swirling action as it falls. The film then dissolves to show an extreme close-up of Marion's eye, with the camera rotating to mimic the movement of the water going down the drain. This is a match on action edit and is also a technique we have tried to use, and we did this by pulling the camera back from what was initially an extreme close up, and then dissolving into the killer swirling a jar of blood, with the camera positioned underneath.
Above is the water and blood running into the drain.  Below is a visual example of the cinematography used on Marion's eye. The picture on the left is roughly where shot starts and then the end shot is shown on the right.